Future Thinking: Kim Stanley Robinson and Roman Krznaric

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How do we make the world better today for the people of tomorrow?

This is an online event. Bookers will be sent a link in advance giving access and will be able to watch at any time for 48 hours after the start time.

Despite the long history of human civilisation, and everything we have inherited from our ancestors, we rarely stop to really consider what the future will be like for those who follow us, and how our own actions now will affect them. Kim Stanley Robinson is one of the world’s most acclaimed science fiction writers, best known for his Mars trilogy and the ecological, cultural, and political themes of his books, in which scientists often feature as heroes. His most recent novel, The Ministry for the Future, imagines how a UN body is set up to fight for the rights of our descendants and how increasingly direct action starts to be used to counter crisis after crisis. Blending stunning, kaleidoscopic writing with hard fact, it explores huge challenges but also a truly better world.

At this special event, chaired by award-winning science writer Gaia Vince, he is joined by leading public philosopher Roman Krznaric, whose book The Good Ancestor also looks beyond the frenetic short-term thinking of today and uses inspiring examples to show how we might do better by future generations, just as those before built cathedrals, or the NHS.

The call for long-term thinking grows every day – but what is it, has it ever worked, and can we even do it? Join us for an evening of expanded time horizons.

Part of the British Library’s springtime season on environment: The Natural Word.

Roman Krznaric is a public philosopher who writes about the power of ideas to change society. His books, including Empathy, The Wonderbox and Carpe Diem Regained, have been published in more than 20 languages. After growing up in Sydney and Hong Kong, Roman studied at the universities of Oxford, London and Essex, where he gained his PhD in political sociology. He went on to found the world’s first Empathy Museum and the digital Empathy Library, and was also a founding faculty member of The School of Life. He is currently a Research Fellow of the Long Now Foundation in San Francisco. His writings have been influential among political and ecological campaigners, education reformers, social entrepreneurs and designers. An acclaimed public speaker, his talks and workshops have taken him from a London prison to Google’s headquarters in California.

Kim Stanley Robinson is an American science fiction writer. He is the author of more than 20 books, including the international bestselling Mars trilogy, as well as Red Moon, New York 2140, and 2312, a New York Times bestseller nominated for all seven of the major science fiction awards – a first for any book. In 2008 he was named a “Hero of the Environment” by Time magazine, and he works with the Sierra Nevada Research Institute, the Clarion Writers’ Workshop, and UC San Diego’s Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination. He has won the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy awards. In 2016 he was given the Heinlein Award for lifetime achievement in science fiction, and asteroid 72432 was named “Kimrobinson”. In 2017 he was given the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Imagination in Service to Society.

Gaia Vince (chair) is an award-winning science journalist, author and broadcaster focusing on how human systems and Earth’s planetary systems interact. She makes and presents science documentaries for radio and television and has held senior editorial positions at the science journal Nature, Nature Climate Change, and New Scientist. Gaia is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at UCL’s Anthropocene Institute in the Geography Department. Extensive global travel underpinned her book Adventures in the Anthropocene: A Journey to the Heart of the Planet We Made, which won the 2015 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books, making her the first woman to win the prize outright. Her latest book, Transcendence, How Humans Evolved Through Fire, Language, Beauty and Time, rewrites the story of our ‘ascent’ and where we are headed.

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Name: Future Thinking: Kim Stanley Robinson and Roman Krznaric
Where: British Library St Pancras
When: -
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546